Monday, August 10, 2009

Chapters of a Story

That's me and my daughter above and me and Jo'el to the left, and me and Jo'el outside at his birthday party,way below.

And so he is seven (7), Jo'el - our grandson.

He certainly has lived a colorful life in his seven years on this earth. I often feared for him, worried about him and did all that I could to protect him only to realize that his story was being written and that the chapters that were mine were what I could control - I take that very seriously - as I know that we, as adults write our children's and grand children's stories until they are old enough to write the rest of their story on their own. But initially, it is ultimately our responsibility. I stopped trying to change how other people were writing parts of his story and focused only on my/parts. I knew that I/we could show him many things in our home. First, is how a man and a woman should treat one another - with kindness, respect, love, gentle humor, calm conversations, listening, equality, sharing, adoring, compromising, and the list goes on. We share traditions with hm like prayer before a meal and some manners like saying please and thank you and clearing your place after we've eaten. We show him about being a good neighbor and friend and not to waste. We ask his opinions and thought and really listen to his answers. His time with us is always gentle, loving and safe and he is free to just be a little boy.
I fought for so long to change other aspects of his world - those were not mine to change, I sure tried though - and some things have changed and changed for the better :-), but those changes are not about me. It was in her time and reference, not mine. It seems that when I let go of trying to make change outside of myself that change happened. It seems that when I focused on our world and how we could share it with Jo'el that I felt empowered. It is, after all, where our power lies, only within ourselves.
It was a wonderful party - the cake was beautiful, the gifts abundant, friends and family around to celebrate him - the singing was loud and joyous and I could see and feel his happy. I like this chapter in his story. I like it a lot. And so I ask you all, ' who is writing the story for the innocent children in your lives and what do you do when perhaps some of the 'writers' are creating chapters that read horribly. And what do the chapters look like for which you are responsible? I already know how much some of you are shaping the lives of your chidren and grandchildren in the most beautiful ways - I am in awe of this shared truth and I bow to it's value - and to all of you.
Peace and love to you all,


giggles said...

Well, Happy Birthday Jo'el!!

A short explanation(well, after typing it all here, it's not such a short explanation!)....

I have been on vacation the past two weeks...sharing a house at a shore with several of my extended family that we typically don't see very often. One of the family is going thru a messy divorce and so there was more room in the house this year than there has been in the past and we were invited to share with them...

No 'twas not me or my husband, but another member of my extended family having the affair.... He is a very prominent dr. at a very prestigious university in the not so deep south.... I was hanging out with the "other woman" and we talked about many things, but my post is about a thing that I said that I only think she was upset about.... She never explained to me, but her demeanor just all of the sudden changed one day.... I did ask her when I notice the change, "Are we OK?" And she said "Yes." The adulterer's mother, Auntie, of whom I am very fond, said to me after this couple left that she had heard that something I said deeply hurt "the other woman." Now, I happen to like the other woman very much, on first blush, so I was quite surprised! I have no idea what it was, although I am guessing it was the comment that I posted about.... The Other Woman thinks she will be the last ...she is very much in love.... (although I would dispute that fact with you.... Even though she has some money from the sale of a business in a big northeast city to move down to be close to her boyfriend, HE is paying for her to go back to school to get a nursing degree.... Money and power can get almost anything .... ) I said to her to be careful.... But I guess I just stuck my nose in a little too far, and she got hers all bent out of shape...except she never asked me or approached me or anything...just went off on everyone else in the house....) Which, I don't know about you, but I am thinking (the more I think about it....and I have thought about it a lot!) that her behavior is a bit immature or something not quite right...

(I didn't judge her for engaging him in the relationship.... He was in a horrible I didn't necessarily judge him either.... Although I expect I did come off that way strongly? Was it wrong for him to pursue her before he was divorced? Was it wrong of her to let him, before he was divorced?)

I told Auntie that I would play dumb, that I didn't hear a thing.... And BOY! Am I glad she didn't tell me until after they left!! That really would have really been a mess!! It was bad enough, her cold shoulder towards me, but when she said that we were indeed ok, I carried on as if I didn't recognize that she was giving me the cold shoulder...I did like her, after all....

So, we'll see if anything comes of it... And I can't apologize for something about which I am unaware that I said or did....

The worst case scenario is that we won't get invited to stay with them next year...wouldn't surprise me...but it would surprise my husband and kids!!! What can I do??!!

I told Auntie I was gonna have a beer and then let it all go.... which I did... When we came home, I just had to write about it.... After I see what others think, I will be able to put it to bed for good.......

I know I do and say stupid insensative stuff frequently... I speak before I think.... It gets me in trouble.... Like the earlier post I wrote about "Admonition?" I did something "wrong" then, too, but I still don't know what that was all about either.....

I tend to be an apologist more often than necessary..... I'm not sure I can change those things about me that are upseeting other people.... I know I do want everyone to like me, and I also know that's not possible....

*sigh* (the sixteen year old is done feeling bad about it now.....)

Bernie said...

Gail, what a wonderful tribute to your grandson. Your love for him shows through in every word, lovely post my friend. Oh, and your daughter and you look so much alike. Have a great day....:-) Hugs

Mark said...

Happy birthday to Jo'el! You are doing a great job being there for him and helping him along this phase of his journey!

Gail said...

Hi Mark-

Thanks for visiting and acknowledging our loving influence in 'Jo'el's story. :-)

Love Gail

Gail said...

Hi Bernie-
Yes, we do look alike, and her older sister looks like me sa well. Together we look like sisters! cool huh? :-)

Jo'el is amazing. I/we adore him.

Love to you

Gail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa said...

Hi Gail,
Wonderful post, and I am so glad that you can share your world with your grandson Jo'el, and I am sure it will remain with him forever.

Sometimes the most insignificant things are what our children remember. God's Blessings to all

((((HUGS)))) T

Wanda said...

Your grandson is lucky to have grandparents like you and your husband Gail...Nothing is more important than the raising of children...and influencing grandchildren in a positive wa, with love and respect.

From one grandparent to another, Thanks!


Gail said...

Hi Teresa-

So nice to see you. And yes, my point exactly - when we share our world we are part of writing their stories and so it is - part of them forever.
Love to you

Choices said...

Hi Gail,
Happy Birthday to Joel. What a wonderful birthday he had. You are doing a wonderful job. Your grandson is so lucky to have you. Take care.
Hugs to you.

Gail said...

@Choices - Anne-
Thank you for your kind words. We are all lucky, lucky indeed. :-)

Thank you for sharing this wondrous time with me as I celebrate his life. And I know, as do you, how love and respect given and shown are such gifts to behold. You are one that I bow to as I 'see' you with yours so lovingly.

Love to you

Gail said...

Hi Giggles
Wow, you really did explain, in detail! woot!!
I understand the scenario. It is all quite complicated as most deceptions be careful, and I agree that you probably wont be vacationing at that beach house next year. :-)

Love you

Iktomi said...

as a stepmom, i very much relate to what you're saying. my husband does not have custody of his first two kids, and it's frustrating when we are not the primary influence in their lives, but all we can do is be grateful for the time we have with them and try to be the best role models we can be during that time.

Eileen said...

Happy Birthday, Jo'el!!
Wonderful post, Gail!

And I'm much like you, in that I have taken a step back, and I just try to concentrate on what I can do for my grandson in this crazy situation, and I just try to stay positive.

A very nice way to look at it, as writing chapters in their lives.
I sure don't want to write another chapter ever again of his Daddy and Grandpa having a screaming match in front of the poor little guy.
I never want to see that sad, confused, hurt look on his face ever again either. Heartbreak would have had to be the name of that chapter.

I'm glad things are working out.
Your pictures are all beautiful, all joyful!
All the best,

giggles said...

You're a peach, sweetie.... Thanks!

(Now, if I can only make my comment match your grandson's birthday post!!!)

PENolan said...

My Child? Innocent?
You must be joking ;)

Gail said...

So nice to see you. And ya, of course he is innocent!! :-)

your comment gets the 'longest comment award" :-)

i am so glad you liked that 'chapters' idea. it is so true tough, huh? and w cant control the other parts of their story like what you wrote about but we have full power to influence lovingly in the chapters we write.

Hi there. an yes, it is hard when there are step-kids involved and we know that the chapters of their stories could be much better if they were with us.


Margie said...

Hope Joel had a wonderful bday!
I think he's truly blessed to have such wonderful grandparents!

You & your daughter look so much alike!
Such nice pics of all of you!


Gail said...

Hi Margie-

Oh thank you so much for your very kind words. We are pretty cool grandparents though - ole hippies!!


Love to you

Comrade Kevin said...

How wonderful. :)

Gail said...

Hi Kevin-

thanks. :-)

Barry said...

Happy Birthday to Jo'el! It seems your grandparents are among your best Birthday Gifts!

Gail said...

Hi Barry and welcome-

"thank you" for the lovely compliment.

love and peace

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

As I listened to your posted Happy Birthday, I joined your party and enjoyed all the goodies you described. As a Grandmother, I fully appreciate all you have said and all you have brought to your shared lives. We are all children of the Universe, for each day is new and offers its own awakening. Blessings to you dear Gail - your gifts are many.

Gail said...

Hi Rose Marie-

I am thrilled that you joined us at Jo'el's birthday party. :-) ANd "thank you" for your kinds words to me - and your gifts are mant too.

Love to you

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing today? Hope all is well.

Gail said...

Hi Leon and welcome-

nice to see you here, please visit often and I will stop by your place as well.

Love Gail